What do Jarrod Parker, Bronson Arroyo, Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez have in common besides choosing Major League pitching as a profession? They are all on the disabled list.
And there is no reason for them to be lonely, either. As of an August 15 review, there were 99 big-league pitchers on the disabled list, either the 15-day, 60-day, or season-ending variety. Somehow in recent years, apparently it has become as hazardous to one’s health to be a pitcher as it is to be a linebacker in the NFL.
While pitchers seem to clutch their arms or shoulders accompanied by a grimace on their faces most often, position players are going down for the count at a remarkable rate, too. Are baseball players no longer stretching to warm up? Do they fail to limber up playing catch? Are they just more fragile than ever?
Reading daily game reports built the impression over time that one by one the best players in the game are being paid to go see doctors, not to try to win their teams a pennant. It seems as if everyone is soaking his arm, walking on crutches, or otherwise hobbled.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers each have seven pitchers on the disabled list. The Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and the Detroit Tigers have six pitchers apiece on the list. This is like a list of war injuries, so many are afflicted. The Rangers are so far off the charts they would skew any scientific or mathematical statistical study. As of a few days ago, Texas had suited up 56 players thus far in 2014 including 35 pitchers. There is still six weeks to go in the regular season.
This seeming epidemic suggested that there may be almost as many top-notch players injured as are playing and inspired the notion for an All-Star Disabled List team. Not all of these players are out for the year (although a goodly number of them are), so it possible someone on only the 15-day disabled list will actually come back healthy and play out the season.
There are so many pitchers to choose from that worthy candidates will be left off the All-Star Disabled List squad, but that can’t be helped. Here are a dozen: Jarrod Parker, Oakland; Bronson Arroyo, Diamondbacks; Matt Cain, Giants; Jose Fernandez, Marlins; Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees; CC Sabathia, Yankees; Justin Verlander, Tigers; Yu Darvish, Rangers; Anibal Sanchez, Tigers; Cliff Lee, Phillies; Homer Bailey, Reds; Josh Beckett, Dodgers. (This doesn’t even include Kris Medlen of the Braves and Matt Harvey of the Mets, or the Orioles’ Johan Santana, who may never pitch again).
This is a possible star lineup of disabled position players: Designated Hitter, Prince Fielder; Catcher Matt Wieters, Orioles; First Base, Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks and Joey Votto Reds; Second Base Brandon Phillips, Reds and Willie Bloomquist, Mariners; Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies and Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers; Third Base Manny Machado, Orioles and Todd Frazier, Reds; Outfielders Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; Wil Myers, Rays; George Springer, Astros; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, and Shane Victorino, Red Sox.
If you could throw the All-Star Disabled List team out on the field you could probably win the World Series. As long as the players stayed healthy, right?